The L-Shaped Room

Watch The L-Shaped Room

"Sex is not a forbidden word"
  • 1962
  • 2 hr 6 min
  • 7.3  (2,186)

The L-Shaped Room is a British drama film released in 1962, directed by Bryan Forbes with a cast that includes Leslie Caron, Anthony Booth, and Avis Bunnage. The movie is based on the novel of the same name by Lynne Reid Banks, first published in 1960. The story follows Jane Fosset, a young French woman who moves to an L-shaped room in a boarding house in London in the 1960s while pregnant and unmarried.

The film begins with Jane Fosset (Leslie Caron) arriving in London, and renting a small room in a house typical of the era. The room is L-shaped, and the house is not in the best condition, definitely not what she expected. Jane is pregnant and unmarried, which was not very common at that time. This is a significant aspect of the story, since it constitutes a social stigma that affects Jane's life in many ways. Jane is not sure whether she wants to keep the baby, so she decides to wait and see what happens before making a final decision.

Jane quickly becomes friends with her neighbor, Toby (Tom Bell), a young writer who lives in a room above hers. Toby is fascinated by Jane's independent spirit and his friendly behavior becomes the beginning of a romantic relationship between the two. However, their relationship is complicated by Toby's drinking habits, his inability to find a stable job, and the differences between their social backgrounds.

As time passes, Jane meets the other tenants in the house, including a prostitute named Sonia (Patricia Phoenix) and a homosexual named John (Brock Peters). She bonds with them and starts to enjoy her new life in London. However, society's opinion about her pregnancy continues to be a source of discomfort for her, and for some of the other tenants as well.

One of the most memorable characters in the movie is Jane's landlady, the rough-and-tumble Mrs. Buckle (Avis Bunnage). Despite her gruff exterior, Mrs. Buckle starts to develop a soft spot for Jane, and becomes almost maternal towards her. She is both an ally and an adversary to Jane, and the evolution of their relationship is one of the most compelling aspects of the film.

The L-Shaped Room is a movie about loneliness, love, and social exclusion. It portrays life in a boarding house during the 1960s, a time when society's strict mores were in conflict with the cultural changes that were taking place. The film deals with social issues such as prejudice, abortion, and poverty, but it also showcases the warmth and humanity of the characters. The L-shaped room becomes a symbol of Jane's life: a small, confined space that represents the challenges she faces as an unmarried and pregnant woman, but also a place that provides her with shelter and comfort.

The performances of the cast are outstanding, especially that of Leslie Caron. She conveys all the different emotions that Jane experiences, from despair to joy, with great skill and depth. Anthony Booth, as Toby, brings a raw and emotional intensity to his part, and Avis Bunnage is both touching and funny as the landlady. The other actors, including Patricia Phoenix and Brock Peters, also deliver impressive performances.

The cinematography is another highlight of the movie. The film is shot in black and white, which creates a particular atmosphere that is both bleak and poetic. The camera work is excellent, creating a sense of intimacy with the characters and their surroundings. The film score by John Barry is also memorable, adding a melancholic note to the story.

In conclusion, The L-Shaped Room is a powerful and engaging movie that deals with themes that are still relevant today. It is a reminder of how far we have come in terms of social progress, but also of how much more we still have to do. The movie is a must-see for anyone interested in British cinema, or in films that explore the complexities of human relationships.

The L-Shaped Room is a 1962 drama with a runtime of 2 hours and 6 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.3.

The L-Shaped Room
Where to Watch The L-Shaped Room
The L-Shaped Room is available to watch free on Tubi TV. It's also available to stream, download on demand at Amazon Prime. Some platforms allow you to rent The L-Shaped Room for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • Runtime
    2 hr 6 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.3  (2,186)